HomeSportMapeza still to earn his stripes

Mapeza still to earn his stripes

The meat slinger, who was arrested for disturbing the peace, gave some goofy explanations on why he hurled the hotdog at Tiger on the green.
But one thing is certain; the fan was pissed off either by Tiger’s bed-hopping antics or the dip in his form. That is the world of sport for you. Its adrenaline pumping and emotional.

There was no recrimination, no fury, and no finger pointing when the final nail in the Warriors coffin was hit on Black Saturday.

Most people went to bed knowing that the young band of Warriors would not be going to the continent’s biggest showcase next year.

However, I will not be writing Norman Mapeza’s coaching obituary any time soon, not at least until the Brazil World Cup qualifiers, which kick off in eight months time. And probably then some pissed-off Warriors fans will throw a hotdog at Mapeza, when the team is knocked out of the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

The news that Zifa still wants Mapeza to lead the Warriors is not a coup on the young gaffer who is still to earn his stripes. Mapeza will only be judged as a good coach if he manages to lead to Warriors to the Nations Cup or better still, the World Cup.

It’s a pity that Mapeza will always be judged against the performances of Sunday Chidzambwa and Charles Mhlauri’s qualifications for the Nations Cup.
Chidzambwa’s qualification for the Nations Cup in Tunisia in 2004 was sweeter in that it was the time the country was making its maiden appearance at the Nations Cup.

Never mind that the Warriors were knocked out in the first round in their maiden appearance. That 2-1 victory over Algeria will remain etched in our hearts. That booming shot by Esrom Nyandoro when Zimbabwe lost 5-3 to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will forever remain top shelf. Peter Ndlovu weaving and bobbing past Rigobert Song will forever remain part of our sweet memories.

Mhlauri and his troops’ qualification for the Nations Cup finals in 2006 was bitter sweet because while we were again happy for qualifying, but we were disappointed with being knocked out in the first round. However, that 2-1 victory over Ghana will always be sweet.

So as it stands, Mapeza is yet to join the elite club but of course will not be in the same class as Valinhos. The game is just beginning for Mapeza and he needs all the support he can get.

Football has always been a marriage of sporting ambition and financial efficiency; misjudge either and you lose. Mapeza had the sporting ambition but lacked the financial efficiency from Zifa characterised by shoddy preparations and poor travel arrangements for the senior national team.

Mapeza is not the worst coach on the moon but we need to revive the spirit of 2004 and 2006 for him to claim his place in the Hall of Fame.

There will be more heartbreaks, as the World Cup qualifiers gets underway next year. The Warriors are in Group G, together with Guinea, Egypt and will be joined by the winner of the Comoros and Mozambique match when the qualifier kicks off in July 2012. The nation will go through a roller coaster of emotions next year and Mapeza should be prepared for a hotdog that might be thrown at him.

We were not in Cape Verde when the script went horribly wrong. The Warriors are not the big guns of continental football and do not enjoy coverage on pay television.

As the news filtered of the 2-1 lose, we had to depend on the Zifa communications manager Nicky Dhlamini-Moyo to give us the scorer and she gave us Cuthbert Malajila yet it was Knowledge Musona. It must have been hell in Praia but we are all glad that no hotdogs were thrown at us.
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